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Soda shop with 1,100 varieties plans to open on Massachusetts Street


My bladder already is doing cartwheels. A new business is coming to downtown Lawrence, and it will bring with it 1,100 varieties of soda to Massachusetts Street.

Mass Street Soda plans to open by St. Patrick's Day at 1103 Massachusetts St., the vacant storefront just south of Englewood Florist. Self-described "soda dorks" Matt Baysinger and Luke Thompson will open the business, and Baysinger told me the store really will stock about 1,100 varieties of soda.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. The store had better have a really big bathroom. Oh, you were thinking that you couldn't believe there are actually 1,100 varieties of soda in the world. (If you have ever stood behind my kids at a self-service soda fountain, you would think there are 1,100 varieties to choose from at McDonalds.)

Baysinger said the specialty soda business really has taken off as the craft brewing industry has exploded. He estimated that about 50 percent of the brands that the shop will carry are produced by companies that also brew beer. He said small breweries have taken to brewing root beer so they have a product to offer children or others who don't partake in alcohol. But he said there's also a surprising number of small soda companies that still exist from the 1800s, back in the day when all soda brands were local or regional in nature.

"We'll have every variety of orange soda, orange cream soda, watermelon soda, grape soda," Baysinger said. "We'll even have a beef jerky soda. I think it is gross, but surely some people will like it."

The store is even trying to work out a contract to get the Butterscotch Beer soda that was made popular in the Harry Potter movies.

But expect a heavy dose of root beers and cream sodas. In fact, it was cream soda that partly got Baysinger involved in this venture. Baysinger said he has never consumed alcohol, but has attended many parties where his friends would be drinking fancy craft beers. So, he decided he would start bringing craft versions of cream soda. About four years ago, his love of cream soda led him to start his own website: [drinkcreamsoda.com][1]. The site would post reviews of various cream soda brands.

"I got a lot of cream soda out of it, so that was pretty cool," said Baysinger.

Baysinger said there are a few other specialty soda shops in adjacent states, and he thinks the concept will benefit from the same ideas that have fueled the "foodie" movement.

"People really are going back to the idea of wanting quality stuff," said Baysinger, who has been in Lawrence since 2004 when he came to KU to run track. "We want to be part of that as well."

In the beginning, the store won't have a food menu, but Baysinger said it may expand into food, and also may stock a variety of hard candy and candy that is hard to find. The shop will have ice cream to serve root beer and soda floats.

Baysinger said the store also will have a traditional soda bar, although all the soda will be served in bottles. He said the shop will have a definite feel of a 1930s or 1940s soda shop, although with WiFi.

It also will have somewhat of a sports feel at times. During the NCAA tournament, the shop plans to host what it calls "Parched Madness," an event where sodas will square off in a 16-soda tournament. Patrons will be able to sample one-ounce versions of soda and then vote on which brands should advance in the tournament.

The store also will have one other twist. During the evening hours, the shop will convert over to an art-party business. Baysinger's wife is an art instructor, and has been hosting art parties at their home for years. That seems to be a bit of an emerging trend as well. If you remember, we reported on a West Lawrence company, Painted Kanvas, that plans to get into that business. The idea is a group of friends gather to learn how to create a piece of artwork. Baysinger said in their shop, the art won't just focus on painting, but also will include other crafts such as leatherworking or Pinterest parties or other such stuff.

Who knows, maybe it will even include creative readings. I could read a piece that I believe was inspired by drinking 1,100, one-ounce samples of soda: Dash to the Restroom. By Willie Makeit and Betty Don't.

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    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Josh Meyer, we will most definitely be carrying Moxie's Original Elixir - they have been using the same recipe since 1884!

    Deb Stavin 3 years ago

    Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Tonic, please.

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Deb Stavin, we have Cel-Ray - dare to be different!

    @Sherry Warren, we are carrying both the regular and diet Green River Lime longnecks. We'll look forward to sharing in some green soda on St. Patty's day!

    Clark Coan 3 years ago

    Kickapoo Joy Juice. Nesbitt Grape. Too bad I'm trying to stay away from high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar.

    Beth Perry 3 years ago

    will you carry ALE8ONE? one of our favorites!

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Clark Coan - we have Kickapoo Joy Juice - the original dogpatch recipe! And we totally get the HFCS/Sugar thing - everything in moderation! We also will have Nesbitt Honey Lemonade as well as the Orange. The Nesbitt Grape changed names in the 70's - it is now called NuGrape - and yes, we will have it :)

    @Beth Perry, we certainly have Winchester's Ale-8-One!

    Jean Robart 3 years ago

    I haven't seen Kickapoo Joy Juice since at least the 60s! (maybe before)

    Monica Huff Greenwood 3 years ago

    Will you be carrying Peach Nehi? How about Abita Brewing Company's Root Beer?

    Daryl Jones 3 years ago

    please, please, please have some Polar Diet Orange Dry

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Monica Huff Greenwood, we have 18 different kinds of peach soda, but we don't have the Peach Nehi. Ever since they got bought out by Dr. Pepper / Snapple, we have had a hard time finding it. We won't give up though, don't worry!

    On a more positive note, we do have Louisiana's Cajun Brew - good ol' Abita Root Beer!

    Monica Huff Greenwood 3 years ago

    The last I spotted Peach Nehi was at the Osceola Cheese Company store in Osceola, MO., off Missouri Hwy 13. Perhaps they might have a line on the product they could extend your way. :)

    Excited to visit your new store!

    Tracy Bedell 3 years ago

    Keep trying on the Peach Nehi! I can only get it when I go to Louisiana several times a year. It is delicious!

    Rick Masters 3 years ago

    Bubble Up? Rondo? Beverly? Josta?

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Daryl Jones - we don't carry any soda that is in plastic bottles - unfortunately the Polar folks aren't making soda in glass just yet. We would certainly consider it though! I'll be in touch with them and see what our options are.

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Lisa Cloar - you know that no soda shop would be complete without Cheerwine!

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Rick Masters:

    Bubble Up: You betcha Rondo: Though it would be fun to crush some cans, we are not offering anything in aluminum cans just yet Beverly: Was sadly discontinued in 2009 Josta: Pepsi pulled Josta from their lineup in the late 90's. Even though some folks were petitioning to have it revived as late as 2011, the revival effort has all but died. Sadly, I don't think Josta exists anymore.

    Mary Alexander 3 years ago

    WOW!! Matt this all sounds wonderful. Can't wait until you open to give it a try. Thank you for bring this to Lawrence.

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    Thanks, @Mary Alexander; we are pretty dang excited :)

    Laura Engels 3 years ago

    Matt, will the soda be available for "carry-out" or in-store consumption only? I would love to have some fun drinks at an upcoming party, but it's the weekend before St. Patty's Day. How much before then could you be opening, or are you planning for a St. Patty's Day reveal? Love this idea, by the way! I'm sure I'll be stopping in regularly!

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Laura Kendrick, It is all available for carry out as well as consumption in store. We will sell bottles individually and offer discounts for 12-packs and cases of 24, as well as orders larger than 24. Our product should be arriving here in the next few weeks, so we might be able to help you out for your party depending on what you need! Feel free to shoot me an email - matthew.baysinger@gmail.com

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Laura Kendrick, It is all available for carry out as well as consumption in store. We will sell bottles individually and offer discounts for 12-packs and cases of 24, as well as orders larger than 24. Our product should be arriving here in the next few weeks, so we might be able to help you out for your party depending on what you need! Feel free to shoot me an email - matthew.baysinger@gmail.com


    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    I just realized that I can reply directly to comments instead of creating a new post every time; sorry about that!

    Pat Ferrell 3 years ago

    Going way back in time, I use to love the Vess Cola Beer. This goes back to the 40's. Also use to like the Grapett. Will either show up??

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Pat Ferrell, while we love "The Billion Bubble Beverage" known as Vess Cola, they currently don't produce anything in glass. We may look to adding plastic-bottled soda soon, but for now all of our soda is in glass bottles.

    We also carry Frostie Grape Soda (as well as another 20 or so grape varieties), but many folks of old swear by Frostie's resemblance to Grapette's old recipe.

    The 'new Grapette' can actually be found in Sam's Club, but I think you'll really enjoy the Frostie Grape Soda made with real cane sugar.

    EJ Mulligan 3 years ago

    Sprecher Root Beer? Cream Soda? Orange Dream? What about the specialty Faygo flavors? This place sounds awesome!

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @EJ Mulligan, we will carry the entire Sprecher line (tasty honey-based goodness!) and we have all of the Faygo line of sodas as well: Creme, Grape, Orange, Red, Rock and Rye and Root Beer.

    And yes, this place is awesome :)

    Addie Line 3 years ago

    Wow already awesome service to reply to all these comments! And so nice to see a thread on LJ World without a Koch brothers reference.

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Addie Line, we have no references to the Koch brothers - we don't carry Coke, either :)

    Jean Robart 3 years ago

    I may have to make a pilgrimage back to Lawrence this summer! But you're not carrying Coke? Not Pepsi either, then either, eh?

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Jean, that is correct - no Pepsi, either. Not to say we won't ever have either of them, but we don't have them just this minute :)

    Bob Forer 3 years ago

    No coke? No Pepsi?................ Cheesburger?

    Sylvie Rueff 3 years ago

    What - no old fashioned soda fountain with a classic soda pump and classic syrups?

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Sylvie - not yet. But keep your eyes peeled for an update about that sometime soon :)

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    @Bob I don't think we have a cheeseburger flavored soda either. Beef Jerky will have to do!

    Matt Baysinger 3 years ago

    For more updates as they come in, feel free to visit us at www.MassStreetSoda.com thanks!

    2 years, 12 months ago

    Will you be carrying Dublin Dr. Pepper? I am excited for your store to open. I've been to Pops in OKC several times, and I really enjoyed trying the many varieties of Root Beers they have available. It sounds like you are going to have an amazing selection.

    Mike Ford 2 years, 12 months ago

    I was about to suggest Pops on Route 66 as we're going to a Thunder game in a couple weeks. This place has stuff I haven't seen in years. Pop's is located between Arcadia and Edmond, Oklahoma on old route 66.

    Matt Baysinger 2 years, 12 months ago

    Mike, we love Pop's - what a great place! We will actually carry literally everything they have - perhaps a few more as well!

    Looking forward to seeing you!

    Shane Rogers 2 years, 12 months ago

    Will you guys be carrying Taylor's Tonics? Those sodas are some of the best strangest stuff I've had.

    Matt Baysinger 2 years, 12 months ago

    @Shane, we have Taylor's on lock! We've got their Chai Cola, Cola Azteca, Cranberry Dream, Gingerbread Spice, Mate Colada, and Mate Mojito!

    James Howlette 2 years, 12 months ago

    Begleys & Bills? It's the only Stevia flavored soda I've ever tasted that didn't make me want to hurl.

    Matt Baysinger 2 years, 12 months ago

    I had never heard of Begley and Bill's til now - but we will definitely look into it!

    James Howlette 2 years, 12 months ago

    They were at the Mother Earth News fair last year giving away samples. I ended up buying two cases.

    Joshua Talley 2 years, 12 months ago

    The lavender cream soda served at 715 down the street is pretty impressive. I could indulge on that in higher volume if the price was better.

    Matt Baysinger 2 years, 12 months ago

    Joshua, it sure is tasty - we haven't asked them to bottle it yet, but it's a great idea!

    Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 12 months ago

    I figured, well the calculator did, that if I have one a day it will take me 3.01369883 years to drink all, that is assuming no more are added.

    I now have a goal. Thank you Matt!

    And, best of all you are going to be so close to Vermont Towers. Hope you don't mind old people because you might be seeing a lot of them. It will give us an excuse to walk.

    Kathy Gates 2 years, 12 months ago

    Keep trying on the Peach Nehi--there are a lot of area Boy Scouts who would happily drink up your supply without having to drive to Osceola!

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